Successful Webb City coach sees no need to move on

Successful Webb City coach sees no need to move on


Successful Webb City coach sees no need to move on


Amid reading about all these college football coaching job-hoppers, you have to wonder if they really know what they’re getting themselves into. And if they realize the grass isn’t always greener.

So it was nice Wednesday to catch up with Webb City High School football coach John Roderique at the News-Leader’s All-Ozarks football banquet and hear that, yes, he does get it.

And he’s probably all the smarter for it.

Of course, you’d assume that after three consecutive state championships — or eight total since his arrival there in 1997 — and a 90-game, regular-season win streak that Roderique would start polishing up his resume and parlay his success into something greater.

You know, such as a college job, perhaps, since he did it — and well — in seven seasons as an assistant at NCAA Division II power Pittsburg State in the 1990s.

“That question’s come up a lot lately,” Roderique said, smiling and shaking his head. “Who knows? It wasn’t some dream that I had to come back and be at (alma mater) Webb City High School. At the time, I wanted to be a high school head coach and I just wanted to look at something more toward my family and financially.”

And now?

“I never closed the door on anything. The only thing my wife and I have said is, ‘Until our kids are raised or we get them through high school, that’s the most important thing,'” Roderique said. “I’ve had some opportunities. But I don’t want to disrupt them.”

Roderique would seem primed to start greasing the wheels to something more. He’s 45 and he and his bride of 27 years, Heather, have three teenagers, one a sophomore in college. The next-oldest is heading to college, John at likely Pitt State, and Tyson is 15 and will be a sophomore next school year.

Both of his sons have asked him to coach them in high school, and that means a lot to Roderique. Plus, his family still lives around Webb City. Not a bad life. Not at all.

Besides, Roderique still remembers seeing college assistants go on, maybe enjoy success elsewhere but eventually have to reserve the U-Haul moving van yet again.

“It’s all a matter of being happy, too, and enjoying what you’re doing,” Roderique said. “That’s what I like. It’s obviously a great challenge to try to do it (win state) again. … To me, it’s like raising kids. It’s a developmental thing. …

“Our o-line coach said that about Parker Graham, who’s a starting offensive left tackle at Oklahoma State and Parker might get drafted next year,” Roderique added. “Our o-line coach is a 40-year-some veteran of coaching and said, ‘I don’t know if he’ll ever play for us’ when he was a sophomore. And by the time he’s a senior, he’s a pretty good player. And that’s what’s fun.”

Smart’s vision

In a Sunday story about the football program being important to new Missouri State president Clif Smart, it was only natural to read it with mixed thoughts.

On the one hand, it should be appreciated that Smart is eyeing an upgrade to Plaster Sports Complex, especially with attention to the east side.

I’d argue to forget about east-side bleachers and instead install a beer garden or something for entertainment, plus widen the marketing effort community-wide rather than trying all-out to bank on students.

Trying to get students on board has been a losing cause.

That said, why spend any money until Allen proves next season this program truly is making progress — as Smart and athletic director Kyle Moats are gambling on — or until a new coach is hired?

At that point, season tickets likely would see a healthy increase. This year, they were 892, simply pathetic and yet another sign that Allen hasn’t sold his act here after seven seasons.

Mizzou football

It’s nice to see that Mizzou is opening up its search for an offensive coordinator after David Yost threw everybody a curveball this week and resigned.

I question if Yost was pressured to create a better rushing attack. Regardless, the Tigers need one if they’re going to even be a middle-of-the-pack team in the Southeastern Conference.

Goin’ bowling

Everybody saw the college football bowl pairings this week, right? Me too. They’ll now appear not on our Scoreboard page but in the comics.

Just kidding.

But, look, Oklahoma State is playing Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day — and Purdue fired its coach the other day. So it’s hard to get geeked up about the bowls.


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